Painting small areas in light colors?

Hi again everyone - Sorry for all the questions, but now that I painted a set of cookies I've got the painting bug. I have another set of cookies I want to try to paint and I have another question before I even attempt them. These make me very nervous!

 

I've attached my photos hoping my question will make sense to those of you who paint. 

 

How do you paint a very tiny area in a light color when the surrounding area is dark? I hope I can explain what I mean here: 

 

When I did my Three Kings cookies, I made the long beard on one king but then realized it would look much better if I showed his mouth. However, because I had painted the beard in a very dark grey, I couldn't figure out how to add a mouth in a lighter color on top of that grey. Should I have done the mouth first and then tried to paint around it? If so, how do you make such a tiny area stand out in a light color when it's surrounded by a very dark color? 

 

I left his beard as is because I was afraid I would mess him up. 

 

The same thing on the little scenery cookie I did. I painted the sky in blue but then had no idea how to add white stars???? I kept trying to do them in yellow (mainly because I've read that a few people say white is a hard color to paint with) but even to make little round stars was so difficult because I was painting on top of the blue. The stars came out more like meteorites because none of them are little round dots as I was attempting to do! What did I do wrong? And could I have done those with white? 

 

I need help. The next cookies I am going to try involve a lot of small, light colored areas. I'm making these for my dad and I really want them to look nice. They are Russian stacking dolls and I want to try painting so I don't have all the raised details I would get using RI. I've actually made three sizes to correspond with the actual stacking dolls he has (I don't know what I've gotten myself into here) but the smallest cookie is only about 1-1/2" tall so those small details are very tiny.

 

I've attached the photo of my template I made to show you what I'm talking about. I had taken a photo of the actual dolls and printed it out because I would like to do as many of the details as possible but some are so small so I highlighted just a few for fear of messing these up completely!

 

I don't know where to start and need some guidance. Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated. Thank you SO much in advance!

Colleen

 

Blogging about the ups and downs of learning to decorate cookies keeps it real. The day I stop having fun decorating I will hang up my apron but I don't see that happening for a very long time. I'm on a never ending journey to learn from others more skilled than I am.

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Hi Colleen,

Although I am quite new to the world of painting on cookies, I may have some solutions for you. Through my own trial and error, I have discovered that painting with gel food colors has it's own unique properties. It's translucent, it dries quickly, and is difficult to layer color. That being said, it also creates a beautiful result once you have a idea how to work around those difficulties! I have found that this medium resembles watercolor and porcelain painting, and requires you to consider your light areas ahead of time. Leaving the white / light areas blank and painting around them is one solution. The other is to use an opaque color (white), The latter is not fool proof and will pick up color beneath it. I have used Wilton's White-White Icing Color. (I haven't ventured our to use a variety of products yet). Possibly another remedy to the problem with adding a mouth to the already painted beard would be to apply/pipe/paint a bit of royal icing, which is opaque, and then add some color to that after it dries. In my Silent Night cookies, I also had a dark sky painted and added stars. I used the white opaque icing color and mixed a slight bit of yellow. I added white over that to brighten. Remember if you "overwork" an area that you have painted to add another layer, it will pick up that under painting, so less is best or it will "muddy" your painting. I also use Vodka to dilute my paint as it dries faster, and I wait for the first layer of paint to dry completely before adding more. 

Hopefully, this is beneficial. Remember I am new to this and there may be better solutions than what I offer.

I am looking forward to seeing your beautiful painted cookies! 

 

Jenny

Totally agree with that jennabea said.  For the beginner I would also suggest that one avoids the areas to be left white (or light in colour) and apply the lightest washes first.  This allows you to gradually work towards darker washes.  It is better to cover areas loosely in the early stages and then slowly apply darker/mid tone values.  

Originally Posted by jennabea:

Hi Colleen,

Although I am quite new to the world of painting on cookies, I may have some solutions for you. Through my own trial and error, I have discovered that painting with gel food colors has it's own unique properties. It's translucent, it dries quickly, and is difficult to layer color. That being said, it also creates a beautiful result once you have a idea how to work around those difficulties! I have found that this medium resembles watercolor and porcelain painting, and requires you to consider your light areas ahead of time. Leaving the white / light areas blank and painting around them is one solution. The other is to use an opaque color (white), The latter is not fool proof and will pick up color beneath it. I have used Wilton's White-White Icing Color. (I haven't ventured our to use a variety of products yet). Possibly another remedy to the problem with adding a mouth to the already painted beard would be to apply/pipe/paint a bit of royal icing, which is opaque, and then add some color to that after it dries. In my Silent Night cookies, I also had a dark sky painted and added stars. I used the white opaque icing color and mixed a slight bit of yellow. I added white over that to brighten. Remember if you "overwork" an area that you have painted to add another layer, it will pick up that under painting, so less is best or it will "muddy" your painting. I also use Vodka to dilute my paint as it dries faster, and I wait for the first layer of paint to dry completely before adding more. 

Hopefully, this is beneficial. Remember I am new to this and there may be better solutions than what I offer.

I am looking forward to seeing your beautiful painted cookies! 

 

Jenny

PS  I see you have outlined the Russian doll cookie with black pen. Adding additional color may pick up the black color. Be careful and deliberate when you lay color into those outlined areas so it does not pick up the black color. Too many brush strokes will surely do that.  

Jennabea and Kim - Thanks for all the tips! I am trying to digest all of this. I still can't get over that you consider yourself new at this Jennabea. Your cookies are just spectacular!

 

Now just to clarify, when you say that you used the white opaque color for your Silent Night cookies (which I am absolutely in love with)-- you diluted the Wilton White with a bit of vodka, added a dab of yellow gel paste, and applied that on the already dried dark blue sky, to make the little stars? Am I reading that right? 

 

That makes a lot more sense to me than what I was trying to do. 

 

Also, yes, I outlined the Russian doll in black marker but that's just the template. I did that because the copy was light and I want to be able to see it under the KK machine. However, I do want to attempt painting it without all the outlines if possible and that's why I am trying to figure out the light areas.

 

I've attached a pix here of the actual dolls I'm going to attempt to turn into cookies. That should give you a better idea. I truly don't know if this is way above my level of cookie decorator. It very well may be and I might be better off just piping. I've had the dolls for months, trying to work up the nerve to attempt them! LOL

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Originally Posted by Royal Icing Diaries:

Jennabea and Kim - Thanks for all the tips! I am trying to digest all of this. I still can't get over that you consider yourself new at this Jennabea. Your cookies are just spectacular!

 

Now just to clarify, when you say that you used the white opaque color for your Silent Night cookies (which I am absolutely in love with)-- you diluted the Wilton White with a bit of vodka, added a dab of yellow gel paste, and applied that on the already dried dark blue sky, to make the little stars? Am I reading that right? 

 

That makes a lot more sense to me than what I was trying to do. 

 

Also, yes, I outlined the Russian doll in black marker but that's just the template. I did that because the copy was light and I want to be able to see it under the KK machine. However, I do want to attempt painting it without all the outlines if possible and that's why I am trying to figure out the light areas.

 

I've attached a pix here of the actual dolls I'm going to attempt to turn into cookies. That should give you a better idea. I truly don't know if this is way above my level of cookie decorator. It very well may be and I might be better off just piping. I've had the dolls for months, trying to work up the nerve to attempt them! LOL

thanks again for the generous compliment!  I am a artist and Jill of all Trades, surely a newbie to cookies, but learning as I go. 

Yes on the opaque color, but it may not need diluting as it may be loose enough for what you need. Just be careful that you don't load heavy color on your cookie because it may not dry well. I try and paint in thin layers to avoid that issue. So, for stars on dark sky, mix white with a bit of yellow, no thinning with vodka (a little swig for yourself and go for it!

On the Russian Dolls, add washes of color like Kim suggested. Build depth and darker colors as you paint layer. When I say layers, I mean a wash of color, let that dry, and then add another. Always remember overworking with the paintbrush will lift the color below. I love the idea of piping over painted areas too. Maybe that would be a way to add the roses over the black/ dark color in the dress. Paint them when they dry. Wash the face with color and keep it light around where the eyes are. 

Overall Colleen, just go for it and enjoy the process of learning something new . Trial and error are my best friends most of the time! You can do it! I'll be anxious to see the dolls when you get them done. 

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